Beer Review 0226: Foothills Jade IPA

I’m choosing to review this beer today because this evening I will be seeing NEIL YOUNG JOURNEYS, a documentary film about one of my heroes, Neil Young. The cinema (Aperture) I will be viewing the movie in is located on the same street as Foothills Brewery, and they have a nice selection of craft beer. A movie and beer! Cheers!

Here in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, my local brewery is Foothills Brewery, located right in the downtown area on West Fourth Street. They have a brewpub that has some tasty food offerings in addition to the beer; I’ve reviewed several of their beers on this website, being most impressed with their very popular but scarcely limited Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout. (94 points)

The head brewmaster at Foothills is Jamie Bartholomaus, and the operation he is overseeing is rapidly expanding. Recently, Foothills started a production brewery across town, and began to offer some of their beers in 22 oz. bomber bottles in early 2012. The plan calls for six-packs to start rolling out by the end of this year, and the ultimate goal is to have a 400-mile distribution area.

Now that Foothills has a production facility, the brewpub is used to make limited release beers, or offerings that only go on tap. This beer, Jade IPA, is only offered on tap at the Fourth Street location. Coming in at 6.4% ABV (alcohol by volume) and 85 IBUs (International Bitterness Units), this American IPA is brewed with Cascade, Citra, and Jade hops. I had a growler poured for me to take home during a recent visit.

Jade IPA poured an average size head, foamy and frothy, lasting in nature. The color of this beer was a nice vibrant golden, like a color you might find in a sunrise. The body was exceptionally clear, without any particles and sediment, and there were more than a few good patches of lacing left as I sampled.

As for the aromatics — there’s only one word that will describe the tropical fruits found here: INCREDIBLE. Without doubt, the best beer I have ever smelled when it comes to hoppy tropical fruits to date; there’s mango, papaya…basically, this is like Hawaiian Punch in a beer. Really sweet tropical fruit juice concentrate. But wait, there’s more: in addition to that, there’s your classic grapefruit, lemon, lime, although those scents are subdued. This beer also contains a huge peachy note that is just blissful. There’s malts here, too; a bit of caramel and straw. This scent is fairly sweet and quite pungent. Exceptional quality here.

On the palate, there’s a mix of peaches and mango that provide sweet notes, and a balance of grapefruit that gives ample bitterness. Then, there’s some floral hops in the mix, which leads to a finish that flashes a big hand of malt with biscuit and caramel. The bitterness is moderate, bordering on heavy, but isn’t overwhelming. On the tail end of the finish, I thought the bitterness did last a touch too long, ending the great balance Jade IPA showed throughout the taste. Mouthfeel was medium and creamy.

My parting thought on this beer, which I know the greater majority of my readers have very little chance of getting, is this: if you ever find yourself in Winston-Salem, and you love craft beer, you must visit Foothills Brewery. And when you visit, if you see Jade IPA on tap…GET IT. Without hesitation. One of the best American IPAs I’ve ever sampled, and I’m proud to call this one a local brew.

Foothills Jade IPA, 94 points. Price: $9.00 US for one 64 ounce growler pour.

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